Saturday, 24 October 2009

Vestments

Over the past few weeks I’ve been chewing over the reasons why many Christian denominations use vestments in their worship, with some using them more elaborately than others. Some see them as a distraction, an outdated irrelevance left over from imperial Rome or even idolatrous. Others see them as beautifying worship or enhancing the dignity of the office the wearer represents e.g. a priest acting ‘in persona Christi.’

I’m beginning to think that as human beings we have an inbuilt desire to dress in a manner that enables us to say something about ourselves. Think of the many situations in which people of many countries, faiths or affiliation wear clothing to identify function, status or belonging. School uniform, football club kit, Masonic regalia, university graduates, Goths, traditional dress, skinheads, tribal clothing, religious habit, designer wear, Royal family ceremonial all say something about our affiliation, status or our spiritual/temporal outlook.

I think it important to scratch the surface and to challenge why such regalia are used whilst recognising that such things do draw people together. Even the rejection of such things draws people together in a similar way.

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